Friday, July 30, 2010

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

So tonight I'm super pumped to be eating dinner with three lovely ladies: Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Dean, and Mrs. Bates, whom I've been pals with since we were little.  We make a point to get together twice a year for these "Catch-Up" dinners: in the summer and around the holidays. 

It's funny how we're all so very different, but alike, especially when we all get together.  All kinds of time can go by, but when we get together it's literally like we're all 15-years-old again, sitting at our corner booth at the Dairy Queen, gossiping and chatting about boys.  :)  (And yes, the Cullman Dairy Queen is the best DQ in the entire world.) 

We four gals have been around for both the good times and the bad times, and their company always gives me lots of laughs and similar musings on getting older.  I can't believe tonight we'll start planning our 10 Year Class Reunion... which means we are really getting on up there in the age department.  Mrs. Dean was our Class President (well, really all four of us ran something or other in high school), which means the other three of us will be right there with her, up to our elbows in memorabilia of high school past. 

(Yes, Mrs. Dean and Mrs. Bates are twins, in case you were wondering, but after many years of friendship, I don't think they look anything like.)

On another note, I successfully made Red Velvet Cupcakes last night.... from scratch.  And Vanilla Cream Cheese icing... from scratch.  Yep, no box of cake mix in sight.  Mrs. Pillsbury and Mr. Duncan Hines were not invited to the cooking soiree. 

I will be posting the recipe sometime this weekend, I promise. 

They will literally melt in your mouth, and I swear I saw stars when trying them.  I would advise sitting down while eating them, because they made me weak in the knees...

Okay, I may have gotten a little over zealous when baking them, but cooking is a great de-stresser.  I was whipping out cupcakes left and right. 

But when have I ever overdone anything?  Anyone?  Bueller? 

I cannot confirm or deny that I ate four of these heavenly wonders last night.

And then stuffed my face with another couple of them for breakfast. 

What's that you say?  Elastic waistband pants are a good idea when baking? 

Thursday, July 29, 2010


If you've been my friend for any amount of time, you know my devotion to the beloved television show, "Friends." Seriously, I will dominate in "Friends" Trivia Pursuit. It's a show I can watch - without fail - over and over again. I'm a lucky gal to be working with some tried-and-true Friends fans, as well! Yesterday afternoon at work, I had the pleasure of reminiscing favorite Friends memories with a couple of co-workers.

My absolute favorite, is the "PIVOT!" scene with Ross, Rachel, and Chandler. Tears will stream every time I watch it in sheer giggles. It also serves as a funny momento to every time my dear Dad has moved me in and out of apartments, sorority houses, etc. when we move a couch together. Yes, like Monica I'm freakishly strong (and quirky & OCD, among other things), but at some point whenever we're moving together, my Dad and I will yell out "Pivot!" to each other and then collaspe with laughter. Oh Dad, thanks for always being such a good sport when moving me.

Watch and enjoy, my friends.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Breakfast of Champions = Homemade Amish Friendship Bread.

Who knew baking bread would be so much fun?  It's like one big challenge dying to be solved.  LOVE IT. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Lawd, it's hot outside.

I'm pretty sure this is where I'm living right now because of how HOT it is.

At lunch today my car read it was 107 degrees. 

That's not a typo.

This is real life.

Not to mention the humidty.  It's like being wrapped in a hot Snuggie at all times. 

So... to look on the bright side of things, can we get a camel to ride to work everyday?
And spit at people we don't like, of course. 

Wouldn't she be sassy to come to work with everyday? 

We'd be instant friends, I'm sure of it. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Double Trouble

This weekend Mr. Smith and I (& Cooper) ventured down to T-Town for a wedding party for a couple of friends.  While we were there, we decided to pay a visit to our pals, the Pilsch's, and help them celebrate their twins' first birthday.  The Carrolls also joined us for this afternoon of fun, and by the end of the day, we were wore out. 

Mr. Smith, Mr. Carroll, Mr. Pilsch, and a Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Burns are all best pals because of their golden years of baseball.  They've done pretty much everything together since they were little ones.... college, getting married, and now having babies.  We thought it was only fitting for the four of us to pitch in to get the Pilsch twins (Jackson & Cullen) a couple of birthday presents from their Baseball Uncles and Aunts.

Soaking up plenty of Baby Love...
Mrs. Carroll has Cullen, and I have Jackson. 

These kids are pure hams.  No matter what they're doing, if you pull out your camera and say "Smile!" they'll stop whatever they're doing and pose for you. 


Opening Thomas the Train was a big hit.

Dad and the Uncles helping figure out Thomas.

Right about now is when Mr. Smith looked up at Mrs. Pilsch and declared that twins were so easy!  He didn't know what all the fuss was about...

We practiced walking to Aunt Suz...

and practiced our baseball skills with Uncle Pelham...

But sometimes no matter what new toys you get, you just want an empty Gatorade bottle. 

We played nicely and pushed each other on Thomas...
(There are no pics of a certain 27-year-old Mrs. Smith riding Thomas, for obvious reasons.  However, the twins thought it was hysterical....)

Then it was Bottle Time.

And the Uncles enjoyed cuddling up and feeding the boys before Nap Time. 
Aren't they cute when they can hold their own bottles?
The twins, I mean.  Not the Uncles. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fiesta Birthday Girl!

Last night we enjoyed some delicious Mexican food at one of our favorite restaurants, Sol Aztec, to celebrate Sister's 25th birthday!  In all the chaos of her wedding, we wanted to make sure she got a proper celebration!!!  These guys didn't disappoint...

Onward to the weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Broccoli Casserole and a Weekend in the Car

I truly felt like the Smith's spent this weekend in the car.  Friday night we stayed in and did a "Movie, Pizza and Wine" night... and it was glorious.  If you haven't seen "She's Out of my League" yet, please drop what you're doing and rent it.  Jay Baruchel = New Crush.  He's replacing Michael Cera, for sure, in my #1 Crush Department.  So sweet and hilarious in this movie!!!  Call me Jay.

Saturday our adventures took us to the booming metropolis that is Excel, Alabama.  Next door to Monroeville, who was celebrating "How to Kill a Mockingbird's" 50th Anniversary. We were guests of the Mixon-Henry wedding, and spent 3.5 hours getting there on Saturday, and 3.5 hours getting back on Sunday morning.  Exhausting, except for that break at Peach Park that all I but threw a temper tantrum that we stop at. 

Sunday was spent catching up on lounging, and I cooked a favorite dish from my mom's recipes: Broccoli Casserole.  We enjoyed this little number with some rotisserie chicken and white rice, and I urge you to do the same. 

Mom's Broccoli Casserole

Here's what you need:
Package of Frozen Broccoli
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup Mayo
1 Big Can of Cream of Mushroom soup (or 2 regular cans)
Townhouse Crackers

This makes enough for a 9X13 casserole dish, so cut the recipe in half if you're not that hungry.  FYI, you can buy most all of this stuff plain ole' generic at Wal-Mart, and it's still divine.  And you save a few bucks in the process, too, right? 

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Cook broccoli however you need to.  I steamed mine in the microwave 'cause it was faster.
While that's cooking, stir up the eggs, mayo and cream of mushroom in a bowl.  I always toss in some cheddar cheese as well, for good measure.  About a cup.

Line casserole dish with cooked broccoli.

Pour yummy mixture over broccoli.  You'll see it start to seep down into the broccoli and get in all the nooks and crannies.

Top mixture with cheddar cheese (the more the healthier better), then finish by topping with crushed Townhouse crackers.  Now, I've tried this before with Ritz crackers, but there's just something about the buttery goodness of those Townhouse crackers that really makes this uber delicious.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the crackers get a little brown.


Ignore that paper plate.  I forgot to turn on the dishwasher before our trek across Dixie.  But it tastes swell regardless on fine china or paper plate!  I promise.

I've heard people put white rice or even chicken in their broccoli casserole too.  I stick to what I know best, and it's always been a success at dinners. 


Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Frugality...

Being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding is always a blast, but everyone knows that purchasing that bridesmaid's dress is a bit more obligatory, rather than joyful.  Let's be honest, have you ever worn any of your bridesmaid dresses again? I mean, really?  I can't say that I have, and then there goes the $180 - $300 you spent on that dress down the drain.  (Disclaimer: I am planning on getting Sister's Bridesmaid Dress cut off at knee-length to be used as a cocktail dress.) 

So, when Mrs. Soon-To-Be-Searson emailed us our bridesmaid dresses for her October wedding, I was more than pleasantly surprised.  She picked a cocktail dress from J Crew for us to wear, and I. Love. It.  It's a rich expresso color and you will see me sporting it long after her Big Day. 

However, in comes the Frugality Lesson 101.  This dress is listed on the J Crew website right now for $180, plus shipping, giving me an overall total of around $200.  Ugh.  So what does this Frugal Gal do?  I searched ebay for it.  Yep, I'm not scared.  And lo and behold, there it was in all its glory "New with Tags" for $69.99.  Total with shipping came to $75, saving me $125! 

Now, just to make sure I had gotten the right dress, I swung by Mrs. Soon-To-Be-Searson's last night to get the Bride to double check my purchase.... and SUCCESS!!!  She did admit to laughing when I emailed her the story, but said she was not surprised in the least.  Budget Buddies 4 Life. 

So, here's what I'm suggesting, and I've done this before and had a lot of success with it.  If you see something somewhere, be it J Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor (you know, those stores we all love!), before you buy it Full Price, search for it on ebay.  It'll probably be there, New with the Tags on it, in your size.  As long as you're careful and read all the information listed on the product, you can walk away (er...slide your chair away?) with some really good deals and steals. 

Here's another Frugal Tidbit... if you do shop online at regular store websites, before you checkout, Google for any promotional codes (you know, like Free Shipping, $5 off, etc.).  I'm serious.  There are dozens of websites devoted to collecting and categorizing these promotional codes.  For example, when ordering Cooper's Heartgard from 1-800 PetMeds this week (which had a Fourth of July Extra 15% off Sale), I googled "1-800 Pet Meds Promotional Codes" and found one that worked for an additional $5 off my purchase.  Try it!  You'll love it!  I can usually find a Free Shipping promo code for almost any website just by using this little ploy, which now that I'm thinking about it, Mrs. Soon-To-Be-Searson got me started on this.  Thanks Friend! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Roughin' It

Let's just say the Smith's had a wonderful time in Ellijay celebrating our one year or marriage!  We did absolutely nothing, except for lounging, reading, grilling out, eating, playing with The Pooper, and eating some more.  Pure Bliss.  Our only excess was our Couples Massage we had on Saturday evening, but we figured since we stayed in and grilled out instead of going out to eat, we could afford such a luxury, right? 

Our Cabin

Lots of time spent reading on this swing all weekend.....

And soaking up some sun and watching Mr. Smith and Cooper play in these chairs.

Watching the sunsets in the hot tub.....

There was even a Hospitality Committee of wild goats that came over to greet us. 
How sweet and not at all alarming.....

Coop spent most of his time playing in the creek, splashing around and chasing a frisbee.

Which led to this the majority of the weekend: a wet, stinky puppy. 
(Who has yet to be bathed since we've returned.  Any volunteers?)

Saturday night Mr. Smith grilled steak, while I prepared Stuffed Baked Potatoes and Asparagus. 

Let's chat about these delectable creatures.  Let's call them Delicious Dove Skewers.  Mr. Smith made them over the process of two days, and I must say I was really, really impressed.  They were delicious-in-my-belly. 

Mr. Smith took some doves (that had been in our freezer forever), and did all that stuff to them like washing and cutting.  I refused to take part in this process. 

He then marinated the dove in Orange Juice and Worcestershire overnight.

Sunday afternoon, he took the dove out of the marinade and wrapped them with a dallop of cream cheese, a jalapeno pepper, and uncooked bacon, held all together by a skewer.

He then grilled these bad boys on the grill, and Oh. My.  Gawd. 
Heaven on earth, if you ask me. 

He also did some without the jalapeno peppers, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that both are extremely tasty.  These dove skewers lasted approximately 6 minutes once brought inside. 

I think you could probably do these with chicken as well, instead of doves, if you're skittish in the dismembering dove department. 

Onward to Sunday Night's feast...

So, Sunday night we tried a new Pork Tenderloin recipe I had seen on Kelly's Korner
You marinate the Pork Tenderloin overnight, and then it's ready to cook the next evening. 

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 oranges, juiced (We just used Orange Juice from the carton) 

1 lime, juiced (We just used regular ole Lime Juice)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped scallions

After it soaks in the goodness overnight, remove the pork tenderloin and pat dry.  Then brush with Olive Oil.  I think we used Extra Virgin Olive Oil, because that's what we had handy. 

Put some of the olive oil on your grill as well for extra flavor. 
Mr. Smith grilled these for about 20-25 minutes. 

Oh, in that foil pouch are squash and zuccini slices, with butter, lemon juice and salt & pepper.  Delicious and nutrious.

While your tenderloin is grilling, bring that marinade to a boil on your stove.  Then, lower heat and simmer until you're ready to drizzle it over your finished pork tenderloin. 

Pork Tenderloin, Squash & Zuccini, and Wild Rice.

We also enjoyed some of our wedding cake from last year, for good luck, of course!
It actually tasted pretty good!

Friday, July 2, 2010

TGIF and God Bless America!

TGIF people!  I am ready to drive off into the sunset with my husband of ONE YEAR, Mr. Smith.  We leave today after work to head to the beautiful Ellijay, GA mountains to celebrate our one year anniversary.  Yes, technically July 11th is our anniversary, but we have a wedding next weekend.  Shocking, I know.

Here's where we're going:  Creekside Cabin

Here's what we're doing: Nothing. 

Well, we're doing some hiking, some grillin' out, some hot tubbin', fishin', and other outdoorsy things.  With Cooper, of course.  Nothing spells romance like having a 75 pound black lab snuggling in the bed with you, right?

In other news, I finally saw Eclipse last night with two former co-workers.  LOVED IT!!!  For a great recap on what went down in the theater when watching it, please read Lincee's version of "Jacob is Hotter" at  I swear that's how our theater acted as well.  Audible sighs, moans, and "Whoo Hoo's" being thrown at the screen.  And I swear it wasn't me. 

Hope everyone has a delightful Fourth of July celebration weekend, and God Bless America! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Financial Fitness Quiz

I know, I'm a nerd.  We've talked about this before.  BUT... I found this cool quiz to test your financial skills today, called the Financial Fitness Test.  Head on over and check that bad boy out.

Do you keep track of your Net Worth?  This is an intriguing topic for me lately, as I see more and more blogs touting their net worth these days.  I think the Smith's do good with our monthly budgets and Dave Ramsey-esque behavior on moola, but me thinks finding out our Net Worth is a good idea.  Here's a great example, over at Budgets Are Sexy.